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Despite Factors, Like Zika, Gov. Scott Optimistic About Future Of Florida's Tourism Industry

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Florida tourism numbers may be showing a record high, but it’s still unknown how factors, like Zika, will impact the industry. Still, Governor Rick Scott appears to be optimistic.

The Treasure Coast is suffering from a toxic algae bloom, and some beach resorts are already reporting cancellations. And, on top of that, about half of Florida’s 67 counties have at least one case of the Zika virus. Locally transmitted cases via mosquitoes have been reported in one Miami neighborhood as well. But, Governor Rick Scott says he’s hopeful those events won’t have a negative impact on incoming tourism numbers.

“Important thing that you can do for anybody that’s thinking of coming to our state is to keep them informed,” said Scott, speaking to reporters Friday. “They know that this state knows how to deal with hurricanes, tropical storms…we know how to deal with Zika. We’ve controlled other mosquito-borne viruses: chikungunya and dengue fever. So, they know that we’re ahead of this. We’re transparent. We give them good information. I think Disney just came out yesterday and said they didn’t see it have any impact on them yet. So, hopefully, we’ll continue to see record numbers.”

Last week, the Governor announced that Florida had set another record: 57.4 million tourists visited during the first six months of this year. Scott has also asked state lawmakers to spread the word that Florida is a safe state to help continue the growth of the tourism industry—a large part of the state’s economy.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.